At approximately 9.45 a.m. (GMT) on Thursday, 14th June 2007, the latest Mod2 development of MBDA’s Exocet AM39 Block2 air-launched anti-ship missile successfully completed its final validation firing.
The test firing took place at the DGA’s Ile du Levant CELM missile launch test centre (situated off the French Mediterranean coast). Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 was released from a naval Rafale F3 combat aircraft one hour after its catapult take-off from the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle.
Release from the Rafale F3 took place at high altitude (27,000 ft) and approximately 50km from the intended target. The missile dived at supersonic speed to its planned very low altitude where, one minute after release, its cruise propulsion system took over and Exocet adopted its autonomous sea-skimming trajectory. During its final approach phase, the missile carried out first an angular and then other evasive penetrative manoeuvres. After less than three minutes of flight, the Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 successfully impacted against the target.
This firing marked the final development firing of the latest generation of Exocet anti-ship missiles (MM40 Block3 and AM39 Block2 Mod2). It also served as the validation firing for the Rafale in its F3 standard.
The Mod2 evolution has resulted in the digitisation of Exocet AM39 Block2, an adaptation called for by the requirements of the latest generation of rotary and fixed wing aircraft (such as the Rafale F3).
Patrick Tramier, MBDA Programmes Director, said: “Exocet forms the core heavy anti-ship weapon for many of the world’s armed forces. With the operational requirements of customers constantly evolving, we have made sure that a new generation of Exocets will continue to provide the unmatched capabilities expected of this world-renowned missile system”.